REVIEW: Corpus – ‘The Sliding Scale Of Morality’


Artist: Corpus
Album: The Sliding Scale of Morality
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Indie

Sydney duo Corpus have been causing quite the ruckus down under over the last three years with their unique brand of indie-tinged post-hardcore and riotous live shows, earning them dizzying acclaim from some of the scene’s most discerning ears (including Sydney resident and frontman of The Used, Bert McCracken). If the band’s latest release, The Sliding Scale of Morality, is received the way it seems destined to be, then the volume of those voices of acclaim is going to become deafening.

Recorded in a variety of locations across Japan with producer and good friend Clayton Segelov, The Sliding Scale of Morality is quite literally the sound of Corpus growing into themselves, as they undertake a physical, spiritual and emotional journey through the cities, mountains, forests and studios of Japan [This journey is intimately retold in the beautiful book/photographic journal the band produced for the physical release of the album]. The unique approach to recording has resulted in a seven-track mini album that melds a diverse array of musical styles, emotions and production techniques into a surprisingly cohesive and wholly immersive listening experience.

The heavily grunge influenced “Awash With Monotone” opens the record and its washed-out verses, desperate chorus and disheveled instrumentation serve as a perfect introduction to the band’s rather emotive sound, with its anxious closing moments providing the perfect segue into “I Plan To Starve On You.” A ferocious mid-tempo track powered by drummer Jack Bruun’s killer groove, “I Plan To Starve On You” is a significantly heavier beast than the track that precedes it, with the raw-throated vocals and down-tuned riffs of Keiron Steel, exposing the band’s hardcore punk roots In crushing style.

“Ribs” and “Soju” follow and these two rather disparate offerings provide a fascinating insight into the minds and styles of the two men who make up Corpus. Subdued, withdrawn and fearful, “Ribs” is a harrowing yet oddly inspiring listen that utilizes some cleverly arranged instrumentation to provide the perfect backdrop for Keiron to explore and embrace the fragility of the human condition in his inimitable vocal style. Melodic yet moving, it’s the perfect setup for the full-scale sonic assault that is “Soju.” A much more aggressive affair, “Soju” is Corpus with the volume turned to 11, as Keiron’s caustic vocals crash against a thunderous post-hardcore soundscape, comprised of equal parts thrashing riffs and bombastic beats, the track is a genuine fire-starter that bleeds emotion and oozes danger in a manner few bands in the scene do. Home to some clever lines such as “I haven’t seen the film but I read the book,” “Soju” is arguably the most immediately moving song on offer and a personal favorite.

The triumvirate of “Ermington Escape Plan,” “Destroy Myself/Holy With You” and “And Crushing” close things out with each displaying different elements that make Corpus such a captivating band. “Ermington Escape Plan” is home to a hauntingly beautiful verse and soaring chorus that displays a shrewd grasp of the soft/loud dynamic many grunge luminaries deployed, providing Jack the room to hammer the drums with all the power he can muster. ”Destroy Myself/Holy With You” showcases both the band’s carefully hidden pop-nous and their hardcore chops, while “And Crushing” is a chaotic melting pot of all that has come before, starting out soft and fragile before building in emotional intensity and volume across its duration, before ending the album in a surprisingly delicate and tender manner as it fades out of existence in a beautiful display of songmanship.

Fiercely independent and unashamedly ambitious, Corpus is one of the most unique and exciting bands to have emerged from the land down under in many years, and you get the sense that The Sliding Scale Of Morality, while a damn fine record in and of itself, is but a step towards them unlocking the full scale of their artistic potential. At times calling to mind the progressive post-hardcore sounds of At The Drive-In, letlive., Refused and The Blood Brothers, while at other times channeling the likes of Dinosaur Jr or Aussie grunge revivalists Violent Soho, Corpus are a young band who are clearly unafraid to give all of themselves to the world in the name of their art. If The Sliding Scale of Morality is anything to go by, the world (or at least the punk rock portion of it) seems destined to love them for it in return.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Brenton Harris (follow him on Twitter)

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